Shopifreaks - What happened in e-commerce in 2021?

2021 E-commerce Year In Review

Loving Shopifreaks? Leave a review. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hi Reader

2021 was an exciting and monumental year in e-commerce. BNPL became a standard way to purchase items online. Major companies changed their names and experienced high profile executive turnover. Google fought to regain its share of e-commerce searches. India rewrote the rules of e-commerce within their borders. Shopify integrated with, well, everyone. And aggregators popped up faster than weeds in a garden.

I launched the Shopifreaks E-commerce Newsletter in January 2021 to highlight the most important happenings in our industry and have since published 48 weekly editions. Thanks for being a subscriber!

This week’s 49th newsletter is a lookback at 2021 In Review. I’ve recapped the most notable news from this past year (in reverse chronological order) so that you can have big picture view of what happened in e-commerce in 2021.

Here's the link if you'd like to share this week's newsletter:


December 2021

  • Shopify rolled out its integrated NFT feature for Shopify Plus merchants
  • Alibaba revealed its vision to 5x its Southeast Asian platform Lazada
  • H&R Block sued Block (formerly Square) over its name change
  • Amazon partnered with Instalments to offer BNPL in Britain
  • Belk brought BNPL to brick-and-mortar stores via partnership with Afterpay
  • Business Insider leaked Meta’s plans to take on Shopify next year
  • TikTok produced its first live shopping event
  • Target Australia re-platformed to run on AWS
  • Amazon reportedly plans to launch Instacart-like service in USA and Europe next year
  • Shopify was sued by five textbook publishers for allowing the sale of pirated text books
  • #SpotifyWrapped incorporated artist merch into its campaign for the first time
  • Square renamed itself Block
  • Nestlé announced plans to double down on e-commerce
  • Hedge funds urged Kohl’s to sell their company or separate its e-commerce business
  • Tencent opened its WeChat groups to allow Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao shopping links
  • PayPal’s Buy Now Pay Later service became available to Wix sellers


November 2021

  • Twitter tested livestream shopping with Walmart and Jason Derulo
  • Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO of Twitter
  • Spotify launched a Netflix Hub
  • AirAsia launched a last-mile parcel delivery service
  • Google Shopping and American Express created shoppable street murals
  • fabric introduced a B2B marketplace
  • Amazon informed customers that they will no longer accept Visa credit cards in Britain
  • Macy’s hired AlixPartners to explore an e-commerce spinoff
  • Payment apps will start reporting transactions larger than $600 to the IRS
  • Linktree added Shopify storefronts to its platform
  • Shopify and Ledger’s class action lawsuit was dismissed by California court
  • Google started showing a Deals tab in Shopping results
  • Shopify and MailChimp made amends after 2 1/2 years
  • Facebook became Meta and outlined their plans for a VR / AR powered future
  • Shopify doubled its GMV in 16 months from $200B to $400B


October 2021

September 2021


August 2021

  • Amazon partnered with Affirm to offer BNPL
  • Warby Parker had an IPO
  • Walmart launched a delivery-as-a-service program for 3rd party merchants
  • Amazon eclipsed Walmart as the world’s largest retailer outside of China
  • Shopify was sued in California for collecting and storing consumer info
  • Vista (formerly VistaPrint) and Wix partnered up
  • Jack Dorsey announced plans to develop a hardware Bitcoin wallet
  • Wix launched a no-code app builder
  • 50k Chinese merchants were banned from Amazon for fraudulent reviews
  • Amazon was accused of evading tax by shifting £8.2B to Luxembourg
  • Indian Supreme Court decided that Amazon and Flipkart should face investigations
  • Apple partnered with Affirm’s PayBright subsidiary to launch a new BNPL platform in Canada
  • Square bought Afterpay for $29B
  • BigCommerce partnered with Sezzle for BNPL
  • Shopify opened a creator space in NYC
  • Twitter started testing e-commerce on its platform
  • Shopify added support for non-fungible-tokens (NFTs)
  • BigCommerce acquired Feedonomics


July 2021

  • EcommerceBytes filed a lawsuit against Ebay for intimidation, threats, and harassment
  • XPO Logistics spunout of GXO Logistics
  • BigCommerce partnered with Mercado Libre
  • Amazon launched Kindle Vella
  • went private in a $6B cash deal
  • Etsy acquired Elo7 for $217M
  • PayPal launched a digital POS for US merchants


June 2021

  • India proposed tightening its e-commerce rules
  • Shopify started testing a platform-wide affiliate program
  • Five bills were introduced in Congress that are aimed at limiting Big Tech’s power and dominance in the market
  • Wix launched a food ordering app called Dine By Wix
  • Facebook debuted new commerce tools including Shops on WhatsApp
  • Shopify confirmed rumors that it purchased a $350M stake in payment processor Stripe
  • Wix acquired dropshipping provider Modalyst
  • Shop Pay rolled out on Google and Facebook
  • GoDaddy launched payment processing services
  • eBay sold their Korean marketplace for $3.6B
  • Wix launched its own POS
  • Lightspeed acquired Ecwid
  • Netflix began selling merch through its new online shop
  • Shopify acquired the team from the augmented reality startup Primer
  • Shopify rolled out Affirm payment options to stores via Shop Pay
  • DHL ordered 2,000 new warehouse robots to keep up with e-commerce demand
  • Alibaba formed an R&D division to develop a driverless truck
  • Etsy acquired the fashion resale marketplace Depop
  • eBay cut ties with PayPal and started depositing funds direct to seller bank accounts
  • Shippo raised $50M and became a unicorn
  • BigCommerce launched their B2B Edition
  • BLS International signed an exclusive 3-year agreement with Amazon India for cash on pick-up
  • Wix removed a Hong Kong pro democracy website and then put it back and apologized
  • Microsoft launched Smart Shopping


May 2021

  • Twitter launched their Blue Subscription service
  • Amazon acquired MGM Studios for $8.45B
  • Shopify brought its POS and Payments systems to Australia
  • Google revealed their Shopping Graph and partnered with Shopify, Square, GoDaddy, and WooCommerce for direct integration
  • Shopify struck a deal with Google Cloud to better handle higher levels of traffic
  • Shopify integrated with Sweet so that merchants could sell NFTS
  • SquareSpace (SQSP) went public through a direct listing instead of an IPO
  • Global E-Online (GLBE) went public through an IPO after Shopify invested $193M pre-IPO
  • Shopifreaks coined the term Shopify Saints for former Shopify employees who have moved on to launch companies, but it didn’t stick. 
  • Shopify joined the Open Invention Network (OIN)
  • Commonwealth Bank and BigCommerce partnered to help clients set up their own digital storefronts
  • Shopify was named as one of the TIME100 Most Influential Companies of 2021
  • MailChimp launched its own e-commerce platform and appointment booking service for small businesses


April 2021

  • Amazon started testing a pilot program that allows merchants to market to customers via e-mail
  • Shopify added Amazon order tracking to its Shop App
  • Pinterest expanded its Shopify integration to 27 new countries 
  • Three of Shopify’s top execs left the company
  • Chick-fil-A and Shopify delivered spicy chicken sandwiches via robots in Santa Monica
  • TCC took over six floors of Shopify’s offices to rent as flex space after Shopify announced that its  7000+ employees would be permanently working remotely
  • Shopify removed 1.5% of apps from their marketplace for not meeting their standards of trust and integrity
  • A grand jury indicted Tassilo Heinrich for stealing Shopify customer data on over a hundred merchants
  • A class action lawsuit was filed against Shopify and Ledger over a 2020 customer data breach
  • Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke asked the DeFi community on Twitter what they were most excited about
  • Keith Rabois and Jack Abraham launched OpenStore


March 2021

  • Shopify added a directory of Asian owned businesses to its Shop App
  • Walmart opened its marketplace to non-US sellers
  • Amazon surpassed Walmart as the top apparel retailer in the US
  • Former Shopify employees launched Backbone Angels
  • TikTok’s integration with Shopify expanded to Canada and Europe
  • RageOn lost their case against Shopify
  • LockeBio launched their “Shopify for Pharma” e-commerce platform


February 2021

  • Shopify launched an e-sports organization called Rebellion
  • Amazon acquired the e-commerce platform Selz
  • Fabric raised $43M in their Series A


January 2021


I hope you had a great year in e-commerce! Thanks for being a Shopifreaks subscriber.


    See you next year!


    Paul E. Drecksler

    PS: Last week I went to try that new AWS restaurant... but its servers were busy. 

    PPS: If you're loving this newsletter, leave me a Google Review. Thanks!

    Shopifreaks | PO Box 25014, Asheville
    This email was sent to you | Please don't unsubscribe | Forward this email to a friend
    Powered by MailerLite

    Key phrases

    Older messages

    NFTs, Shopify clones, & the international supply chain

    Tuesday, December 21, 2021

    Gary Vee called it. Loving Shopifreaks? Leave a review. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Hi Reader As you look back at 2021 and all the exciting things to happen in e-commerce, what stands out the

    In-store BNPL is here + Frenemies clash

    Monday, December 13, 2021

    BNPL has entered the chat. Loving Shopifreaks? Leave a review. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Hi Reader Is it me or has this year flown by? I started Shopifreaks in January 2021 and today marks the

    Record Setting GMV, Textbook Lawsuits & The New Square on the Block

    Monday, December 6, 2021

    Were records broken everywhere? Loving Shopifreaks? Leave a review. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Hi Reader Record breaking numbers... lawsuits... company rebrands and reorganizations. I get to

    Big changes at Twitter, airlines go the last mile & shoppable murals

    Monday, November 29, 2021

    Scott Galloway will be pleased... Loving Shopifreaks? Leave a review. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Hi Reader I hope you had a great Black Friday weekend -- whether you were deal shopping as a

    Shopify's secret marketplace, Amazon-Visa breakup, & Black Friday protests

    Monday, November 22, 2021

    Hi Reader Since I won't talk to you again until next Monday, I wanted to take this time to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends this Thursday and

    Jan26: Standard General bids for Bally

    Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    Bally's Corporation offer, Wynn Resorts IR in UAE, Playtech update, Jefferies winter summit recap, Synalogik funding +more ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    ✂UK growth forecasts trimmed

    Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    .... and Royal Mail and Unilever announce job cuts View this email in your browser 26th January 2022 Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond Good morning According to the Institute of Customer

    The need for speed – this week on Inside Intercom

    Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    How to stay ahead of the competition. Hey there, As a company, what differentiates you from your competitors? In a lot of ways, it's not what you can do – it's how fast you can do it. Not too

    Reliance has makeup on its mind

    Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    Also in today's edition: Top streamers double down on India; Coins dance to Nasdaq tune; Anti Vaxxers hit the streets ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    💎 5 Tweet Tuesday 💎 - Shaan's top tweets this week!

    Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    The Rock actually replied 👀 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Trends you could’ve known about weeks ago

    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    Trends you could've known about weeks ago Hey. No time to waste. From our weekly Trends flare: Abstract line art: Yup. Searches are rising in several regions, so there are a ton of lucrative

    Jan. 25 - Victoria's Secret sells stake in China business | Stitch Fix names CTO

    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    Victoria's Secret will sell stake in China business for $45M; Amazon Go convenience stores are headed to suburbia; 5 tech trends to watch in 2022; Stitch Fix taps Visa exec as CTO View online |

    5 reasons to audit your website (+ a step-by-step template to help)

    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    The Content Marketer Today, we're showing you how to do a website audit in 9 steps, 5 free traffic sources with huge results, the top 8 best company newsletters for 2022 and more! 9-Step Website

    Would West Elm Caleb be a good #ad?

    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    Plus, why is influencer marketing so powerful? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    The Growth Newsletter #057

    Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    DTC reviews, writing pages, template landing pages, Ahrefs tactics ‌ ‌ ‌ The Growth Newsletter #057 Hey, Julian here. This newsletter curates growth insights from the Demand Curve Slack community. It